7 Places to Hang Your Hammock in Milwaukee

As the saying goes: Don’t mock it ’til you try it

The hammock has gone from something you see in L. L. Bean ads to the new obsession your one friend talks about all the time, in just a few years. And why not? It’s basically fancy sitting and a great way to catch up on reading. Preface the sitting with some light exploration and adventure, and you have the makings of a widespread trend. And like most trends, some people take it deadly serious: hammocks, hammock calculators, straps, acronyms for the above, etc.

Sure, but where are you going to hang? A hammock without a hang is an expensive tarp. 




Southern Oak Leaf Trail

You could spend all your hammock time in the neighboring Sheridan and Grant parks and never grow bored of the lake views. The Oak Leaf Trail cuts right through both county parks, winding through forested areas and overlooks. Leave the path: both parks are too narrow to get seriously lost in, and trails lead down to the lakeshore.

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks





Here there are few options. Of course. But Pere Marquette Park beside the Milwaukee County Historical Society has the right combination of trees, views and reduced traffic. You won’t look out of place. To hang practically above the Milwaukee River, there’s a tree line near the intersection of Plankinton Avenue and Buffalo Street that looks promising, wink wink.




Lake Park

Obviously. While you’re there, swing by the surviving native American burial mound close to where Locust Street intersects with Lake Drive. In the Mid-Woodland Culture, mounds often had a good view, just like hammocks. Gustav Lueddemann purchased much of what later became Lake Park in 1849, thereby preserving a slab of old-growth forest you can now tie straps to.





Everything north of the Lakefront Colectivo is quieter and more wooded, and the activity at Bradford Beach tends to stay on the beach. Down south, folks have been known to hammock behind the Milwaukee Art Museum. Tacky? That’s for you to decide, dear reader. Still, the best spot in town may be the harbor spur to the east of the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.

The trail on the lakefront at Veterans Park; photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks




Washington Park and Humboldt Park

These should be considered in the same thought-breath as Lake Park. They’re big, muffling the traffic. They have large, old trees, and they’re easy to get in and out of. Overall, great places to get reacquainted with your Kindle.





The grounds of UW-Milwaukee and Marquette present strong options. UWM’s Downer Woods is a bit dense, but the natural area to the east ain’t bad, if you’re in the neighborhood. Marquette features a number of hammock-ready nooks and crannies, including a special hammock area with stands (behind the Jesus Christ statue on the northern campus). You wouldn’t hammock beside your local bank, but college is all about trying new things.




Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park

Brave the Milwaukee River greenway, sure, but start here so you have a good spot to fall back to. The UEC’s arboretum and Riverside Park have plenty of peace and quiet to go around.

Riverside Park. Photo courtesy of Lake Park Friends




Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.